'Not an open debate': judge in blue state scraps controversial ballot initiative after criticism of parents' rights

The controversial Equal Rights Amendment, which was on the ballot for the November elections in New York, has been rejected by a judge on procedural grounds.

The ruling is a victory for Republicans and opponents of the bill, who say it is written too broadly and could trample on parents' rights when it comes to decisions such as children receiving gender-affirming procedures.

The ERA was a quick response by New York Democrats to the Supreme Court decision between Dobbs and Jackson's Women's Health Organization in June 2022. The amendment was passed by both chambers of the New York Legislature in a special session just a week after the Dobbs decision was made.

The amendment, which advocates say is intended to enshrine women's right to abortion in the Empire State, passed so quickly that a Livingston County judge ruled the legislation was fatally flawed due to a procedural error.

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul (AP Photo/Hans Pennink/File)

Bobbie Anne Cox, the attorney who sued the Legislature to stop the referendum, said, “They introduced this amendment to the Constitution. There was no open debate. There were no public hearings, there was nothing.”

“They referred it to the AG that day, but they voted that same day. They didn't even wait a day,” Cox continued.

The New York Constitution requires that any proposed amendment be submitted to the Attorney General to ensure that the proposal does not conflict with other provisions of the Constitution. The AG has twenty days to respond.

The capital of New York State

The New York State Capitol (AP Photo/Hans Pennink/File)

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Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Doyle declared the amendment “null and void” because Democrats did not wait for the AG's analysis.

“It is not acceptable that they violate the constitution and want to do that to change the constitution. It is even dangerous for the people, for the citizens,” Cox said.

After the decision, Democrats vowed to appeal. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement: “Our decades-long fight to protect equality and reproductive freedom will not be derailed by one extremist judge, and I look forward to casting my vote for the Equal Rights Amendment this November.”

Flier against New York's Equal Rights Act proposal

The Coalition to Protect Kids – New York says an upcoming ballot proposal would ban parents from approving their child's transgender surgery. (Coalition to Protect Children – New York)

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Opponents of the amendment include former House Republican John Faso, who praised the decision to reject the referendum and called the amendment “a cynical maneuver to try to boost the election.” [voter] rise based on a false assumption that abortion is in danger.”

Faso pointed to the Legislature's passage of abortion rights legislation in 1970. He said the ERA goes far beyond guaranteeing the right to abortion.

“For example, it would entitle a minor to so-called gender-affirming care, puberty blockers and even surgery, without consent, without the consent of their parents,” Faso said.

“It would also say, for example, that biological males could compete on girls' sports teams,” he added.

“Any decent lawyer will take one look at the language of Proposition One and say, 'You're kidding me,'” says Greg Garvey, executive director of the Coalition to Protect Kids – New York, a group “dedicated to defeating the Equal Rights Amendment,” said a statement to Fox News Digital.

“This ballot initiative is so broad and so poorly written that it could cause irreparable harm to children and families,” he continued. “This is not a soft-sounding equal rights amendment, it is nothing less than the Parent Replacement Act.”

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Democrat MaryJane Shimsky, a member of the New York State Assembly and a supporter of the referendum, pushed back on opponents' criticism, saying, “We need the ERA now precisely because of the extremists who would scapegoat children for political gain and the dangers it poses.” their culture entails. Wars arise in our communities.”

“New Yorkers know that we are stronger together and that we stand up for each other,” Shimsky continued. “Should the ERA proposal come to the ballot again, I expect it will pass with broad popular support.”

New York Senate leadership did not respond to Fox Digital's request for comment.

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